Minnesota Claims Diet Coke Classic Championship With Win Over Dayton
The Minnesota volleyball team (6-4) won its fourth straight Diet Coke Classic with a three-game victory over Dayton (9-5) by scores of 30-18, 30-24, 30-20 on Saturday, Sept. 16. With the win, Minnesota extended its winning streak to 12 matches in the Diet Coke Classic dating back to 2002.
“We played one of our best all-around matches of the season tonight,” said Hebert. “I think this match and the last four matches were very important for us heading into Big Ten play. To get our whole team back together and play this well tonight, gives us a lot of confidence heading into the start of conference play next week.”
Dayton finished second with a record of 2-1, while UConn was 1-2 and Tulane was 0-3.
Senior libero Malama Peniata (Plymouth, Minn.) was named to tournament’s MVP. It marks the second time in her career she has received tournament MVP honors. The last time came occurred in the Kansas State Tournament last season.
Kyla Roehrig (Papillion, Neb.) and Rachel Hartmann (St. Charles, Ill.) also received All-Tournament honors for the Golden Gophers. Faye Barhorst and Erin Schroeder received the honors for Dayton, while Sara Radosevic received it for Tulane and Jessica Isaac claimed the honors for UConn.
Minnesota was led by Katie Vatterrodt (Bloomington, Minn.) who hit .500 (13-2-22) with 13 kills. Kelly Bowman had her fifth double-double of the season, and hit .579 (11-0-19) with 11 kills and 10 digs. Meredith Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) also had 11 kills on the night.
Hartmann had 39 assists and eight digs on the night for Minnesota. Junior Jessy Jones (Naperville, Ill.) finished with a team-high six blocks on the night, while Peniata had 15 digs and one service ace.
As a team, the Golden Gophers had their second-highest hitting percentage of the year at .360. Minnesota also limited Dayton to a .120 hitting percentage on the night. The Golden Gophers had 52 kills to 38 for the Flyers, and outblocked Dayton 8.5-to-2.0.
Minnesota got out of the gates quickly as it jumped out to a 9-3 lead in game one. The Golden Gophers maintained the six-point edge at 12-6, before Dayton scored consecutive points to cut the lead to four at 12-8. Bowman followed with a kill to make it 13-8. Vatterrodt delivered a kill from Peniata to give Minnesota a 14-8 lead. Following a Dayton error, Nelson and Bowman delivered back-to-back kills to complete a 5-0 run to make it 17-8.
Dayton responded with a 4-0 run of its own to cut the Golden Gopher lead to five points at 17-12. Bowman and Vatterrodt halted the run with back-to-back kills to make it 19-13. Nelson delivered a kill, and the Flyers committed an error to give Minnesota an eight-point lead at 21-13. Nelson sandwiched a couple more kills around a Dayton point to give Minnesota six of the last seven points to push the lead to 23-14.
The Flyers scored three of the next four points to cut Minnesota’s lead to 24-17. The Golden Gophers answered with six of the final seven points to close out the game 30-18.
Minnesota outhit Dayton .357 to .106 in game one, and had 19 kills to 13 for the Flyers. The Golden Gophers also outdug Dayton 25-to-16 in the first game. Nelson hit .545 with seven kills in the first game, while Bowman hit .667 (6-0-9) with six kills.
In game two, the Golden Gophers jumped out to an early 7-6 lead. Minnesota rattled off five of the next six points to take a 12-7 lead over Dayton. However, the Flyers reeled off the next four points to cut the Golden Gopher lead to one at 12-11. Bowman followed with back-to-back kills to make it 14-11. Dayton cut it to 14-12, but Roehrig and Vatterrodt followed with back-to-back kills to make it 16-12 to force a Flyer timeout.
Dayton cut it to 16-13, but Bowman and Nelson followed with consecutive kills to move Minnesota ahead 18-13. The Flyers scored to make it 18-14, but Nelson and Roehrig made it 20-14 with back-to-back kills. Dayton brought Golden Gopher lead down to 23-19 to force a Minnesota timeout.
Out of the timeout, Minnesota scored three straight points including back-to-back kills by Vatterrodt to make it 26-19. Dayton cut the lead to 26-20, before Nelson and Vatterrodt delivered kills to make it 28-20. The Flyers made it 28-23, but Roehrig gave Minnesota game point when she delivered a kill to make it 29-23. Dayton fought off the first game point to make it 29-24, but committed a service error to give Minnesota game two 30-24.
The Golden Gophers hit an scorching .467 in game two, while limiting Dayton to a .121 hitting percentage. Minnesota had 17 kills to 12 for the Flyers. The Golden Gophers also had 5.5 blocks in the second game to none for Dayton. Vatterrodt paced Minnesota with six kills, while Roehrig had four.
Dayton jumped out to a 9-7 lead in game three, but Minnesota responded with four straight points to move ahead 11-9. The Flyers scored consecutive points to tie it at 11, but Vatterrodt ripped off back-to-back kills to give the Golden Gophers a 13-11 advantage. Roehrig came in and delivered a kill to make it 14-11, and Bowman followed with a backrow kill to cap off a 4-0 run to push the lead to 15-11.
The Flyers ran off the next three points to make it 15-14, before Roehrig interrupted the run with a kill. Nelson followed with a service ace, and Dayton committed an error to make it 18-14. Hartmann sandwiched a pair of kills around another Flyer error to close out a 6-0 run to make it 21-14. Minnesota extended its lead out to 11 points at 28-17. Dayton cut it to 28-20 with three straight points, but Vatterrodt delivered a kill to make it game point at 29-20. Nelson followed with a kill to give Minnesota the match.
Dayton was led by Jamie-Lee Richards who had eight kills, while Barhorst had seven. Erin Schroeder had six kills, 29 assists and a team-high 12 digs.
Minnesota will be back in action when it starts Big Ten play on Friday, Sept. 22 at Northwestern at 7 p.m. The Golden Gophers will also travel to Champaign, Ill. to face Illinois in their first Big Ten trip of the season.